Sony set to bow Euro DVD Center

Facility will be first of its kind to be linked to H'wood

Sony will open the doors to its new Sony DVD Center Europe facility in Austria on Monday, ramping up its DVD production efforts in Europe.

New facility, a joint venture between Sony Pictures’ U.S.-based DVD Center and Sony DADC divisions, will offer its mostly European clients DVD authoring, content development, menu development, replication and distribution services. It will also provide integration of e-commerce and Internet links to the discs it produces.

“The strength of these two world-class companies joining together will further expand the DVD market in Europe and will be a powerful partner for studios and distributors alike,” said Leslie Haas, veep and general manager of the Sony Pictures DVD Center.

Once opened, new venture will become the first DVD facility operating in Europe to be affiliated with a Hollywood studio.

Sony also operates Internet services biz NetServices in Salzburg, Austria.

Paul Leitner has been tapped general manager of the new Sony DVD Center and will report to Dieter Daum, prexy and CEO of Sony DADC.

The Sony Pictures DVD Center in Culver City, which first opened in 1997, operates as a division of Sony Pictures Digital Studios.

Formed in 1987, Sony DADC is one of the largest providers of optical storage media and fulfillment services worldwide. It began DVD manufacturing in 1998 and produces more than 5 million DVDs per month.

The new European facility will use Sony’s MPEG2 VBR encoder technology as part of its DVD authoring process.

“Sony technology, particularly the video encoder, has enabled us to develop a compression/authoring solution which ensures the highest video quality for our titles,” said Don Eklund, veep of engineering for Sony Pictures DVD Center.

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